Onstage: Review: Edges

BY Rick Pender | Posted 07/23/2008 Per

Jul 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm

BY Rick Pender | Posted 07/23/2008

Perhaps I've not paid enough attention to Transit Five, a theater company of high school and college students now in its third season. Or perhaps I picked exactly the right moment to see their show, Edges, a new musical revue about that awkward transitional moment between adolescence and adulthood.

Regardless, this show is a happy intersection of material and talent. The company's youth is just right for this 65-minute collection of songs that explore the joys and challenges of growing up.

The cast of eight is strong as an ensemble, especially during "Be My Friend," a song about how Facebook puts people together. As individuals, the differences between their singing skills and stage presence are more evident. But Tim Hein and Katie Johannigman show promise as performers on the cusp of excellence. (Hein, headed for Northern Kentucky University this fall, was in Bare at Know Theatre, where he earned a CEA nomination; Johannigman, already a national touring veteran in Oliver, begins her freshman year at UC's College-Conservatory of Music in September.)

Hein's "Boy with Dreams" has earnest charm and energy; Johannigman's "I've Gotta Run," about a young woman afraid of commitment, has a rueful catch to it. She also pairs nicely with ensemble member Bethany Jeffrey for "Caitlin and Haley," a touching piece about sisters growing apart as they grow up.

Edges, a new work by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is simply staged in its regional premiere by Sammy Kanter in the CAC's black-box theater. Alex Gartner provides excellent piano accompaniment from a baby grand at center stage, surrounded by a desk for Hein, a couch and TV for Andrew Lund and a messy room and cocoon-like chair for Mollie Fingerman. A nearby barstool is Johannigman's perch. Other cast members slip in and out.

The show ends with "Coasting," a warning about the need to connect. On opening night with an audience of mostly friends and family, this cast made all the necessary connections.

EDGES, presented by Transit Five at the Contemporary Arts Center, continues through Saturday.